Saturday, July 29, 2017

Ireland Study Abroad, Installment 6

Midterm Break is over, and we’re now beginning the section of our program set in Belfast. We were able to travel independently over the break, so I traveled within Ireland. I was able to see the Frank McCourt museum and take the Angela’s Ashes walking tour in Limerick.

Just riding on the bus to reach places on the Dingle Peninsula was absolutely beautiful. Tralee has a very nice town park where I practiced some of my watercolors, and Dingle Harbour also had some amazing views, although it would've been easier to watercolor if the rain would stop drizzling or me every fifteen minutes or so. It was nice to take things at a bit of a slower pace, although I wish I had done more work while I was at it.

I was traveling by bus, which gave me plenty of time to do some reading. Seamus Deane’s Reading in the Dark and Glenn Patterson’s The International are both books on our Belfast reading list. I enjoyed The International the most, although both were good books for trying to get some idea of the experiences of The Troubles. I did find it interesting that Patterson’s narrator Danny, a barman at The International Hotel, identifies as neither Catholic nor Protestant, although one of his coworkers does identify him as Protestant based on his educational experiences. Meanwhile, Seamus Deane’s young narrator is decidedly Catholic; his book is definitely about the Catholic experience living in such a violent environment. It seems that Danny is intended to be a more generally relatable narrator, although I'd be curious to know if he would seem to be Catholic, Protestant, or neither to a native of Northern Ireland.

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